The vetters are experienced Challenge walkers and they do a great job reviewing the 300 or so submitted routes. The main reason the route is vetted is to make sure that all participants know how to work out distances and ascents and that they have not inadvertently planned a route that may get them into trouble if the weather closes in. For any day where the route is high level, you have to submit a lower level "Foul Weather Alternative" (FWA) route for that day.
I enjoy the planning aspect, and pass on many a winter's evening working out the routes, planning hill days, re-supply points and booking any accommodation along the route. This year I will only have one night of luxury , in a B&B at Ballater, I will camp out in the wild or on campsites on all the other nights.
I received my route back yesterday from Alan Hardy and was pleased when I read the his opening comments.
"It's a very fine line that you are following this year with some great wilderness and hill days and the possibility of some good social evenings later in the walk"
Alan then goes on to pass on useful information on aspects of the route that he has previously.walked.
The route outline is as follows:
Thursday 12th May.
Travel by train to Glasgow. Join the afternoon train there to Oban. Jump on a Cal Mac ferry to Mull where a bus awaits the ferry to take me to Tobermory.
I will spend the evening in Tobermory and stay in the Youth Hostel that night.
Friday 13th May.
All challengers must sign out at one of the designated start points so that the organisers know that you have started the walk. Acharacle is where I will sign out before an afternoon stroll down the road
|Laga Bay and Loch Sunart|
It has a good reputation and will be my last chance for "proper" food for a few days.
After lunch I will walk the 2 miles to Resipole Campsite which is spectacularly situated beside Loch Sunart.
A nice easy first day. 19km and 750m of ascent.
Sat 14th May.
After yesterday's steady day, today will be one of the toughest of the trip.
A path starts close to the campsite and heads straight into the hills. Beinn Resipol stands at 845m above sea level and will be my first big hill of the trip. Spectacular views are expected. Continuing in an easterly direction (that's the general idea) along the ridge, I will eventually descend to the ruins of some old lead mines, pass close by Bellsgrove Loch to yet more mine ruins where I will start the long climb to the days second Corbett, Sgurr Dhomhnuill and yet more breathtaking views. The plan then is to follow the ridge down to the River Scaddle where I will enjoy my first wild camp of the trip.
23km and a monstrous 1900m of ascent.
Sun 15th May.
A long day today, but easy going along tracks down Glen Scaddle to the A861. Along the road for about 6km to pick up the Corran Ferry, lunch in the Argdour Hotel then continue through Inchree, Gleann Seilach and Lundavra to pick up the West Highland Way. Heading eastwards (trend here) I intend to camp close to Larigmore ruin.
35km and 640m of ascent.
Mon 16th May. Another "Biggie" today. Follow WHW to Kinglochleven, pick up supplies and enjoy a cooked meal then head out of the village for the eastern Mamores. Long hard climb to my first Munros of the trip, Na Gruigaichean and Binnein Mor. High camp at Coire an Lochan.
|Coire an Lochan|
Planned distance: 16.5km
Tue 17th May.
Following yesterdays exertions, today should be nice and steady. I have the option of nipping up Sgurr Eilde Mor (Munro), be rude not to, then dropping down (not literally) to Loch Eilde Mor and then along good paths to the bothy at Loch Chiarain. Following a leisurely lunch on goodies picked up in Kinlochleven in the bothy, I have a pleasant afternoon stroll to Loch Treig where I will pitch the tent and soak up the views.
22km and 820m of upwardness.
Wed 18th May.
The Munro, Beinn na Lap will follow immediately after breakfast. I have climbed this hill before on the Challenge in 2007 and it is a relatively easy climb, it's a smashing viewpoint though and one of my favourite hills.
Onwards and eastwards then to Loch Ghuillbin, Lubvan and wild camp at Lochan na H-Earba
Thur 19th May
Quite a big day today with two more Munros planned, Creag Pitridh and Geal Charn.
Descent to River Pattack then rough going past Lochan na Doire Uaine and onwards to Dalwhinney.
Hope to fit in a tour of the distillery here and also get a meal in the Inn of Loch Ericht in Dalwhinney
28km and 1200m of ascent.
Week 2 to follow...